Keycare unlocks the door to success

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FAMILY-owned business Keycare is planning a move to larger premises to cope with its growth in a year in which it secured 12 new contracts, helping annual sales increase by more than 50 per cent.

The business, which was launched in a portable cabin in 1977 by miner’s son Jeffrey Parker, is this year expected to record a turnover of nearly £4m, up from £2.5m. Last financial year, it recorded a pre-tax profit of £160,000, and forecasts margins of 10 to 12.5 per cent this year.

The firm, which specialises in recovering or replacing lost or stolen keys and has among its client base Marks & Spencer, NatWest and AA Breakdown, is moving to Shipley from Baildon in October to prepare for plans to add to its 28-strong headcount.

David Ross, managing director of the incident management business, said the move was down to growth in customer numbers. He said: “Our customer numbers currently stand at about 760,000 and rising. Within 12 months from now we are expecting to be close to the one million customer mark. The whole infrastructure has to be made rather larger, which includes taking on more staff.”

The company has taken on six new members in the last six months, in sales and customer service. “I’d say in the next 12 months we’ll probably take on at least another half a dozen across a number of different disciplines,” said Mr Ross, who joined the company in 2001.

Keycare secured 12 new contracts in the last year, totalling more than £2m, with firms including insurance business 1st Central.

“The plan is to continue to grow in our niche. It’s a big market. There’s something like 38 million key-carrying adults in the UK from our research. As I said within 12 months we hope to take our customer numbers up to a million, but that still leaves a large untapped market in terms of market share to go at”, said Mr Ross.

“We will stick to our core strengths and will use our core products to go further into the market. So far our typical business partners tend to be in the insurance area, so we would maybe move away from insurance, not leave it behind, but look at some other areas, for example membership organisations, maybe the public sector.”

Keycare recently got involved in an initiative with Suffolk Constabulary to develop a product called Suffolk SAFEKey, which is a key registration service and a lost key recovery service.

“Generally, up and down the country police forces have a bit of a problem with people who have found keys bringing them into police stations and handing them over. The police have no mechanism whatsoever of finding out who those keys belong to,” said Mr Ross.

“It’s quite an innovation for us as it not only allows the police to spend more time doing what they are supposed to, fighting crime, but it’s a subscription service and any excess they make they are ploughing back into community initiatives. And it offers an opportunity to replicate it with police forces up and down the country.”

Although based in Yorkshire, Keycare provides key recovery and replacement to individuals and companies across the UK. Currently, the company primarily targets insurance brokers or large distribution channels.

The Parker family owns the majority of the business, with Mr Ross owning the remaining five per cent.